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Corona confident about school performance scores

Written by Aaron Williams on . Posted in Local

West Baton Rouge Schools Superintendent David Corona said that though numerical scores would drop for this year’s district school performance score, he believed WBR students did as well as, if not better than, last year’s 105.5 score, which gave WBR schools a letter-grade of B.

During the WBR Parish School Board meeting Wednesday June 19, Corona discussed the changes of the 2012-2013 school year’s testing from the 2011-2012 school year, saying that because of the state moving into Common Core Standards, state tests have changed along with the way scores are evaluated.

“If we were graded the same this year as we were last year, our score would go up some, I believe,” Corona said to the board members Wednesday evening during the meeting. “The tests were harder, there was a lot more rigor in the test items. And they increased in rigor in the writing prompt items.”

Corona presented a slideshow to the board that documented the WBR students’ averages in each subject and compared them with the state’s average.

“We were better prepared for this change toward common core. We did a better job of preparing our kids than the state average. So I think that’s a positive for the future, in terms of us getting our teachers and our kids prepared for what’s to come with common core,” he said. “That was significant in my mind.”

Corona said that though the school performance scores will not be available until October, the school system does have access to individual performance scores, which were comparable to last year’s results.

“We got our individual scores on May 18 so students would be able to know if they needed to go to summer remediation school or not,” Corona said during a telephone interview Monday afternoon. “We compiled those individual scores, we looked at them by school and looked at them by district… It looks pretty good. It’s comparable to last year, maybe a little bit better.”

Corona said there are several reasons why WBR schools’ numerical score, along with the rest of the districts in the state, will go down.

“On the high school level, the ACT plays a big part in how high schools will be graded; and an additional end of course test is in there, which are now weighted at a different amount,” he said.

Corona added that changes have also been made in elementary and middle schools.

“In the old system you got points for kids who scored in advance, mastery, basic, and approaching basic – we no longer get points for approaching basic,” Corona explained.

He also said that the maximum score is now 100.

“They’re going to a 100-point scale, so obviously that’s a huge change. The most you can score is 100,” Corona said. “That’s another thing John Q. Public is going to look at that and say ‘they’re not doing as well,’ but in reality we may have done as well or better.”

In other business, the board gave Corona his yearly evaluation during an executive session.

Corona said that of 182 marks, he received only nine scores of “needs improvement.”

He said he received 93 marks of “demonstrates excellence,” and 80 marks of “area of strength.”

The evaluations were completed by each school board member and system school principal in the parish.

“I was grateful for that. But I will also look at those nine different ‘needs improvement’ marks and attempt to find out what I need to do differently to reduce that number and attempt to do that,” he said. “Just like everyone else, I can get better. And I will attempt to do that.”

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